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W. Garrett Owen and Roberto G. Lopez

Under low-light greenhouse conditions, anthocyanin pigmentation in vegetative tissues of red- or purple-leafed floricultural crops is not fully expressed and, consequently, plants are not as visually appealing to consumers. Our objective was to quantify the effect of end-of-production (EOP; before shipping) supplemental lighting (SL) of different light sources, qualities, and intensities on foliage color of geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey ‘Black Velvet’) and purple fountain grass [Pennisetum ×advena Wipff and Veldkamp (formerly known as Pennisetum setaceum Forsk. Chiov. ‘Rubrum’)]. Plants were finished under early (Expt. 1) and late (Expt. 2) seasonal greenhouse ambient solar light and provided with 16 hours of day-extension lighting from low-intensity light-emitting diode (LED) lamps [7:11:33:49 blue:green:red:far-red light ratio (%); control] delivering 4.5 μmol·m−2·s−1, or 16 hours of EOP SL from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps delivering 70 μmol·m−2·s−1, or LED arrays (100:0, 87:13, 50:50, or 0:100 red:blue) delivering 100 μmol·m−2·s−1, or 0:100 red:blue LEDs delivering 25 or 50 μmol·m−2·s−1. Geranium and fountain grass chlorophyll content and leaf color were estimated using a SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter and Minolta tristimulus colorimeter, respectively. Relative chlorophyll content (RCC) and foliage L* (lightness), C* (chroma; a measure of saturation), and h° (hue angle; a measure of tone) values were significantly influenced by EOP SL and days of exposure. Generally, RCC of geranium and fountain grass increased from 3 to 14 days of exposure to EOP SL from HPS lamps and LEDs delivering 100 μmol·m−2·s−1. Under low daily light integrals (DLIs) [8.6 mol·m−2·d−1 (geranium) and 9.4 mol·m−2·d−1 (purple fountain grass)] EOP SL providing 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 of 100:0, 87:13, 50:50, or 0:100 red:blue light for ≥14 days resulted in lower L* (darker foliage), C* (saturated), and h° (orange to violet-red hues). Our data indicate that a minimum of 14 days of EOP SL providing 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 of 50:50 or 0:100 red:blue light enhanced foliage color of geranium and fountain grass leaves when plants were grown under a low greenhouse DLI ≤ 9 mol·m−2·d−1.

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Madeline W. Olberg and Roberto G. Lopez

Heating accounts for up to 30% of total operating costs for greenhouse operations in northern latitudes. Growers often lower air temperatures for production to reduce energy costs; however, this causes delays in development even in cold-tolerant crops, such as petunia (Petunia ×hybrida). This delay increases production time and can reduce profitability. Recent studies on low air temperature bedding plant production indicate petunia as a strong potential candidate for using lower air temperatures in combination with bench-top root-zone heating (RZH) to avoid or reduce delays in development. The objectives of this study were to 1) quantify time to flower (TTF) of seven petunia cultivars and two recombinant inbred lines (RILs) when the mean daily air temperature (MDT) was lowered by 5 °C and bench-top RZH was used and 2) determine if a high-quality petunia crop can be produced on RZH. Petunia ‘Sun Spun Burgundy’, ‘Sun Spun Lavender Star’, ‘Sanguna Patio Red’, ‘Potunia Plus Red’, ‘Potunia Plus Purple’, ‘Supertunia Red’, ‘Supertunia Bordeaux’, and two RILs, IA160 and IA349, were grown in a greenhouse with an MDT of 15 °C without RZH or with a RZH set point of 21, 24, or 27 °C. Additionally, a commercial control (CC) was established by growing plants without RZH at an MDT of 20 °C. All plants were grown under a 16-hour photoperiod to provide a daily light integral (DLI) of ≈12 mol·m−2·d−1. Time to flower was shorter at higher RZH set points. For example, TTF of ‘Potunia Plus Red’ was 56, 52, 49, or 47 days for plants grown at an MDT of 15 °C without RZH, or with RZH set points of 21, 24, or 27 °C, respectively. When a RZH set point of 27 °C was employed, TTF of all cultivars and inbred lines, except ‘Potunia Plus Red’ and ‘Sanguna Patio Red’, was similar to plants grown in the CC. Shorter stem length, lower growth index, and smaller shoot dry mass (SDM) at flowering were observed for plants grown under lower air temperatures with RZH, resulting in a more compact and high-quality plant. Producing a compact plant in a shorter time period is beneficial for growers; thus, results suggest that MDT can be lowered to 15 °C for petunia production when a RZH set point of 27 °C is employed.

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Roberto G. Lopez and Erik S. Runkle

The vegetatively propagated `Fire Kiss' clone of the hybrid Zygopetalum Redvale orchid has appealing potted-plant characteristics, including fragrant flowers that are waxy lime-green and dark maroon with a broad, three-lobed, magenta and white labellum. We performed experiments to quantify how temperature influenced leaf unfolding and expansion, time from visible inflorescence to flower, and longevity of individual flowers and inflorescences. Plants were grown in controlled-environment chambers with constant temperature set points of 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29 °C and an irradiance of 150 μmol·m-2·s-1 for 9 h·d-1. As actual temperature increased from 14 to 25 °C, the time to produce one leaf decreased from 46 to 19 days. Individual plants were also transferred from a greenhouse to the chambers on the date that an inflorescence was first visible or the first flower of an inflorescence opened. Time from visible inflorescence to open flower decreased from 73 days at 14 °C to 30 days at 26 °C. As temperature increased from 14 to 29 °C, flower and inflorescence longevity decreased from 37 and 38 days to 13 and 15 days, respectively. Data were converted to rates, and thermal time models were developed to predict time to flower and senescence at different temperatures. The base temperature was estimated at 6.2 °C for leaf unfolding, 3.5 °C for time to flower, and 3.7 °C for flower longevity. These models could be used by greenhouse growers to more accurately schedule Zygopetalum flowering crops for particular market dates.

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Ariana P. Torres and Roberto G. Lopez

Current market trends indicate an increasing demand for unique and exotic flowering crops, including tropical plants. Tecoma stans (L. Juss. Kunth) ‘Mayan Gold’ is a tropical plant that was selected as a potential new greenhouse crop for its physical appearance and drought and heat tolerance. However, in winter and early spring, when propagation occurs, outdoor photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) can be relatively low. The objective of this study was to quantify the effects of DLI during propagation of Tecoma and to determine optimum DLI levels for seed propagation. Seeds were propagated under 13 mean DLIs ranging from 0.75 to 25.2 mol·m−2·d−1 created by the combination of high-pressure sodium lamps (HPS) and fixed woven shadecloths of varying densities. Thirty-five days after sowing, height, stem diameter, node number, relative leaf chlorophyll content, leaf fresh weight, leaf number, total leaf area, individual leaf area, leaf area ratio, shoot and root dry mass increased as DLI increased. Average internode elongation and specific leaf area decreased at a quadratic and linear rate, respectively, as DLI increased from 0.75 to 25.2 mol·m−2·d−1. These experiments indicate that high-quality Tecoma seedlings were obtained when DLI was 14 to 16 mol·m−2·d−1 during propagation.

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Christopher J. Currey and Roberto G. Lopez

Total crop management (TCM) is a holistic approach to crop production that integrates data collection and interpretation to facilitate decisions that produce a uniform, high-quality, and marketable crop. Our objective was to determine if integrating TCM into poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) production experiences at two separate land-grant universities would improve student confidence in greenhouse potted plant production decision-making skills. Students produced containerized poinsettias and collected data on the greenhouse environment [light, temperature, and relative humidity (RH)], plant growth, media properties, irrigation water quality, and pest populations weekly at Purdue University (PU) (2011 and 2013) and Iowa State University (ISU) (2013) or biweekly (2015). Students were provided with self-assessments at the beginning and end of each course with statements about TCM and the various components comprising TCM activities. For nearly every statement at both institutions, self-assessments in confidence and understanding increased on the pre- to postsemester surveys. The systematic data collection combined with discussion and reflection provides an opportunity for peer instruction and learning. We believe TCM increases student confidence in their greenhouse plant production skills.

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Christopher J. Currey and Roberto G. Lopez

Increasing photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) by supplementing with high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps during propagation has been shown to enhance photosynthesis and biomass accumulation of cuttings. The development of high-intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is a promising technology with potential as a greenhouse supplemental lighting source. Our objective was to quantify the impact of narrow spectra supplemental lighting from LEDs on growth, morphology, and gas exchange of cuttings compared with traditional HPS supplemental lighting. Cuttings of Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull ‘Celebrette Frost’, Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey ‘Designer Bright Red’, and Petunia ×hybrida Vilm. ‘Suncatcher Midnight Blue’ were received from a commercial propagator and propagated in a glass-glazed greenhouse at 23 °C air and substrate temperature set points. After callusing (≈5 mol·m−2·d−1 for 7 days), cuttings were placed under 70 μmol·m−2·s−1 delivered from HPS lamps or LED arrays with varying proportions (%) of red:blue light (100:0, 85:15, or 70:30). After 14 days under supplemental lighting treatments, growth, morphology, and gas exchange of rooted cuttings were measured. There were no significant differences among Impatiens and Pelargonium cuttings grown under different supplemental light sources. However, compared with cuttings propagated under HPS lamps, stem length of Petunia cuttings grown under 100:0 red:blue LEDs was 11% shorter, whereas leaf dry mass, root dry mass, root mass ratios, and root:shoot ratio of cuttings grown under 70:30 red:blue LEDs were 15%, 36%, 17%, and 24% higher, respectively. Supplemental light source had minimal impact on plants after transplant. Our data suggest that LEDs are suitable replacements for HPS lamps as supplemental light sources during cutting propagation.

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W. Garrett Owen and Roberto G. Lopez

Under low-light greenhouse conditions, such as those found in northern latitudes, foliage of red leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) varieties is often green and not visually appealing to consumers. Our objective was to quantify the effect of end-of-production (EOP; prior to harvest) supplemental lighting (SL) of different sources and intensities on foliage color of four red leaf lettuce varieties, ‘Cherokee’, ‘Magenta’, ‘Ruby Sky’, and ‘Vulcan’. Plants were finished under greenhouse ambient solar light and provided with 16-hours of day-extension lighting from low intensity light-emitting diode (LED) lamps [7:11:33:49 blue:green:red:far red (control)] delivering 4.5 μmol·m−2·s−1, or 16-hours of EOP SL from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps delivering 70 μmol·m−2·s−1, or LED arrays [100:0, 0:100, or 50:50 (%) red:blue] delivering 100 μmol·m−2·s−1, or 0:100 blue LEDs delivering 25 or 50 μmol·m−2·s−1. Relative chlorophyll content (RCC) and foliage L* (lightness), and chromametric a* (change from green to red) and b* (change from yellow to blue) values were significantly influenced by EOP SL and days of exposure. Generally, RCC of all varieties increased from day 3 to 14 when provided with EOP SL from the HPS lamps and LEDs delivering 100 μmol·m−2·s−1. End-of-production SL providing 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 of 100:0, 0:100, or 50:50 red:blue light for ≥5 days resulted in increasing a* (red) and decreasing L* (darker foliage), b* (blue), and h° (hue angle; a measure of tone) for all varieties. Our data suggests that a minimum of 5 days of EOP SL providing 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 of 100:0, 0:100, or 50:50 red:blue light enhanced red pigmentation of ‘Cherokee’, ‘Magenta’, ‘Ruby Sky’, and ‘Vulcan’ leaves when plants are grown under a low greenhouse daily light integrals (DLIs) <10 mol·m−2·d−1.

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Wesley C. Randall and Roberto G. Lopez

To produce uniform, compact, and high-quality annual bedding plant seedlings in late winter through early spring, growers in northern latitudes must use supplemental lighting (SL) to achieve a photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) of 10 to 12 mol·m−2·d−1. Alternatively, new lighting technologies may be used for sole-source photosynthetic lighting (SSL) to grow seedlings in an indoor high-density multilayer controlled environment. The objective of this study was to compare seedlings grown under low greenhouse ambient light (AL) to those grown under SL or SSL with a similar DLI. On hypocotyl emergence, seedlings of vinca (Catharanthus roseus), impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida), and French marigold (Tagetes patula) were placed in a greenhouse under AL or AL plus SL delivering a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 70 µmol·m−2·s–1 for 16 hours, or under multilayer SSL delivering a PPF of 185 µmol·m−2·s–1 for 16 hours in a walk-in growth chamber. Supplemental lighting consisted of high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps or high-intensity light-emitting diode (LED) arrays with a red:blue light ratio (400–700 nm; %) of 87:13, and SSL consisted of LED arrays providing a red:blue light ratio (%) of 87:13 or 70:30. Root and shoot dry mass, stem diameter, relative chlorophyll content, and the quality index (a quantitative measurement of quality) of most species were generally greater under SSL and SL than under AL. In addition, height of geranium, petunia, and marigold was 5% to 26%, 62% to 79%, and 7% to 19% shorter, respectively, for seedlings grown under SSL compared with those under AL and SL. With the exception of impatiens, time to flower was similar or hastened for all species grown under SL or SSL compared with AL. Seedlings grown under SSL were of similar or greater quality compared with those under SL; indicating that LED SSL could be used as an alternative to traditional greenhouse seedling production.

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Christopher J. Currey and Roberto G. Lopez

Plant growth retardants (PGRs) are commonly applied to control poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) stem elongation to meet a target final height. Two weeks after pinching, 4-fl·oz substrate drenches containing 0.0, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20, or 0.25 mg·L−1 flurprimidol were applied to high-vigor ‘Orion’ and low-vigor ‘Polly Pink’ poinsettia (Expt. I); while drenches containing 0.0, 0.05, 0.10, or 0.15 mg·L−1 flurprimidol or a foliar spray containing 1250 mg·L−1 daminozide and 750 mg·L−1 chlormequat chloride were applied to high-vigor ‘Classic Red’ and low-vigor ‘Freedom Salmon’ poinsettia (Expt. II). Final height of ‘Orion’ and ‘Polly's Pink’ poinsettia was suppressed by 12% to 25% and 13% to 30%, respectively, as flurprimidol concentration increased from 0.05 to 0.25 mg·L−1. Final height of ‘Classic Red’ and ‘Freedom Salmon’ was suppressed by 11% to 30% and 10% to 19%, respectively, as flurprimidol concentration increased from 0.05 to 0.15 mg·L−1. Although the daminozide and chlormequat chloride spray had no significant effect on bract area index compared with untreated plants, bract area index was smaller for all plants treated with flurprimidol. However, the bract area to height ratio of all cultivars was not impacted by any PGR application, indicating aesthetic appearance was not negatively affected with smaller bract area. Time to anthesis was delayed by up to 4 days when 0.10 mg·L−1 was applied to ‘Classic Red’, although no significant delays were observed for the remaining cultivars. Based on these results, flurprimidol may be applied as an early drench to suppress height of poinsettia without adversely impacting finished plant quality or crop timing.

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Roberto G. Lopez and Erik S. Runkle

Miltoniopsis orchids have appealing potted-plant characteristics, including large, fragrant, and showy pansylike flowers that range from white and yellow to shades of red and purple. Scheduling orchid hybrids to flower on specific dates requires knowledge of how light and temperature regulate the flowering process. We performed experiments to determine whether a 9- or 16-h photoperiod [short day (SD) or long day (LD)] before vernalization and vernalization temperatures of 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, or 23 °C under SD or LD regulate flowering of potted Miltoniopsis orchids. Flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' was promoted most when plants were exposed to SD and then vernalized at 11 or 14 °C. Additional experiments were performed to determine how durations of prevernalization SD and vernalization at 14 °C influenced flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' and Eastern Bay `Russian'. Plants were placed under SD or LD at 20 °C for 0, 4, 8, 12, or 16 weeks and then transferred to 14 °C under SD for 8 weeks. Another set of plants was placed under SD or LD at 20 °C for 8 weeks and then transferred to 14 °C with SD for 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 weeks. After treatments, plants were grown in a common environment at 20 °C with LD. Flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' was most complete and uniform (≥90%) when plants were exposed to SD for 4 or 8 weeks before 8 weeks of vernalization at 14 °C. Flowering percentage of Miltoniopsis Eastern Bay `Russian' was ≥80 regardless of prevernalization photoperiod or duration. This information could be used by greenhouse growers and orchid hobbyists to more reliably induce flowering of potted Miltoniopsis orchids.